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Interview with Reichen Lehmkuhl
by Matthew Weiss, August 24, 2005
Reichen Lehmkuhl
Reichen Lehmkuhl Reichen Lehmkuhl Reichen and Chip

Steamy magazine covers. Million dollar prizes. And now a movie star role. Reichen Lehmkuhl is taking the world, both gay and straight, by storm. His chiseled body graced a recent cover of The Advocate, and his new reality show, E!’s Kill Reality, about the making of a feature film starring various reality stars who live in a house together, has become a hit.

We recently had the chance to catch up with Reichen about the new show, as well as being an out gay reality star and actor in Hollywood. When did you come out of the closet?
Reichen Lehmkuhl: I came out of the closet to myself when I was 20. I was a Cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy. I told one friend who, incidentally, told me that he was feeling like he might be gay too.

AE: Was it difficult for you?
It was liberating to come out to myself. Especially at the Air Force Academy where everyone is so cookie cutter and the same. I had something that was different about me.

AE: Is it hard being an out actor?
It’s tough when someone tells you, “you’re too straight-acting for this gay role” while others are telling you, “you can’t be on this show because the audience knows you’re gay in real life and won’t be able to see you as straight.” If that’s the case then why did Tom Hanks win an Academy Award for playing a gay guy when he was actually straight? The audience didn’t have a problem there. It can be done!

AE: Is it hard being an actor slash reality star?
Sometimes a production will not want to cast a reality star for various reasons, but mostly, being on reality television has opened up more doors for me than I could have imagined. I’m not complaining.

AE: Tell us about Kill Reality and what made you participate.
The Scorned is a movie that I and other Reality Stars made. When E! found out that Creative Light was making The Scorned, they said, “We want to make a television show out of the making of this movie…and we want them all to have to live together while they make the movie”….hence Kill Reality was born!

AE: What's the best and worst part about the show?
The best part about the show is that I made new friends. The worst part about the show was fighting the demons of the food tables while filming the movie.

AE: How do you think gay men are portrayed on reality TV?
Gay men on reality television are usually, in my opinion, portrayed as more feminine and vulgar than gay people really are. None of my gay friends act as prissy and feminine as, say, Dan Renzi from The Real World. And none certainly would be in your face enough to call themselves a “fat faggot” as Richard Hatch does from Survivor.

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